News > Pan-Armenian News (Traditional Parties) > Fundraising for ARF's Armenian Cause offices
The 3rd prestigious fundraising banquet dedicated to ARF's Hai Tad (Armenian Cause) activities took place in Intercontinental Hotel Festival City Dubai (United Arab Emirates) on 31 January 2009, with the presence of dignitaries from Europe, Middle East, Armenia, Russia and other places.
ARF (Tashnaktsoutyoun party) Ministers in the current coalition Armenian Government, Arsen Hambardzumyan (Minister of Labor and Social Affairs), Spartak Seiranyan (Minister of Education and Science) and Aramayis Grigoryan (Minister of Agriculture) attended the glamorous event together with Lebanese Former MP Andre Tabourian.
The previous fundraising banquets (Geneva 2001, Paris 2005) raised only half of the US$ 5 million pledged in Dubai, despite the current worldwide economic crisis.
This was the first time a Middle Eastern city was chosen for such a high level Armenian gathering. Some 160 individuals attended the event with a minimum honorary commitment of US$ 5.000 per seat. The number of pledges surpassed 250.
The participants expressed their commitment to support the Hai Tad activities in the coming period. A review of the activities of the previous four years was made and the attendants were given a brief report with DVD supportive material.
It has been noticed with great satisfaction that the Armenians in Armenia and countries like Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, etc, known previously as the inner Diaspora (since they were part of the Soviet Union), have grasped the meaning of financial support for the vital Armenian political activities and have now oriented themselves to provide more substantial aid to the Armenian Cause. This shift in the mentality has come as a result of the maturity and the visualization of national interests, a fact that would bear great upward influence on Hai Tad activities in the coming years.
The event took place under the auspices of Catholicos Aram I of the Great See of Cilicia (Antelias, Lebanon), who was in a pontifical visit to the United Arab Emirates since 29 January 2009. His Holiness returned back to Lebanon on 3rd February 2009.
ARF party members and sympathizers welcomed the leadership of the party (almost all members of the Bureau of the ARF Tashnaktsoutyoun party were there, headed by Chairman Hrand Margaryan). Other dignitaries included several members of the Armenian National Assembly; Hagop Pakradounian, Lebanese MP and Vicky Marashelian, Chairwoman of the Armenian Relief Society’s Central Committee. Members of the Hai Tad offices in Europe, Beirut, Moscow were also among the attendants.
Shahe Barsoumian welcomed the guests and saluted those who were absent for their continuous financial and moral support. He mentioned the necessity for stepping up the activities of the Hai Tad offices worldwide in order to face the new challenges with a new and vigorous approach.
Hrayr Soghomonian from Sharjah welcomed the guests and made occasional references during the banquet to the donors.
Minister Spartak Seiranyan read President Serzh Sargsyan's message on this occasion. Head of the ARF party block in the National Assembly of Armenia Vahan Hovhannisyan (Former Vice-President of the National Assembly of Armenia) introduced some of the major donors. ARF Chairman Margaryan delivered a speech highlighting the historical significance of the meeting.
Catholicos Aram I concluded the event by emphasizing the need for continuing the drive for the international recognition of Genocide and the reparation for the loses that the Armenian nation was subject to. The call for Genocide recognition becomes obvious now that we are approaching the 100th anniversary of the Genocide in 2015. This year it is already the 100th anniversary of the massacres of Adana (1909).
Catholicos Aram I stated that today’s event is not a mere fundraising, rather it is a renewal of the commitment towards the Armenian Cause and its just resolution.
The event had also a cultural aspect with known singer Rouben Hakhverdian, who was specially invited from Armenia on this occasion.
Hai Tad offices have the great burden of facing the Turkish and Azeri anti-Armenian activities and propaganda on regional level and worldwide. Both these governments spend millions of dollars yearly to secure allies on different platforms. To counter their massive drive it is imperative to act in a united and strong way. Though we can always feel confident that justice is in our side, but honest and consistent work is needed to establish the historical truth once and for all.
Hai Tad offices in the Middle East (Beirut office with sub-groups in Kuwait and UAE) need to develop their work. With only one or two full time employees in the whole region it is not possible to carry on this work, especially in the modern and sophisticated world of social and professional networking. Hai Tad activities should be differentiated from the well-known activities of preserving Armenian culture, heritage and historical understanding. Hai Tad activities should address the outside world, the foreign people who surround us, the cosmopolitan societies in the Gulf countries or the mainstream Arab societies in the leading Arab countries such as Egypt, Syria, Lebanon etc. Amateurism and part-time benevolent work should not be the main aspect that characterizes these offices or sub-groups.
On the other hand, the message of unity should be taken seriously. Hai Tad is not an only-ARF mission or specialty. There are other Armenian forces on ground that have done equal and sometimes more activities in certain Hai Tad domains. These should be acknowledged. It is a shame that our Arabic website www.azad-hye.org which has been for many years the main online resource for Arab scholars and ordinary readers on Armenian history, community life and politics, has never been acknowledged by ARF and its followers. This is only one example of where local ARF party members fail to understand their role. Let us hope that this recent event in Dubai will be an eye-opener for them.
Photo: Catholicos Aram I addresses the guests with his closing remarks.